Tips from President Stenger

May 9, 2019

Dear Students,

With the end of the semester approaching, some of you may feel stressed or anxious about finals and other tasks. Although there are several deadlines and exams on the horizon, the end of the year doesn’t need to be as hectic as it seems. Finals season can be difficult, but you can manage it by being proactive and taking care of yourself.

This week, the deans and I would like to share some study tips to help you breeze through finals. Without further ado, I present six tips to help keep you cool, calm and collected during finals week and ensure you finish the semester on a high note!

  1. If you are studying for an exam, try to study in a similar environment to that in which you will take the exam (e.g., sitting at a desk, in a quiet environment, brightly lit). Your brain can recall facts and concepts better if you learned them in a similar physical setting.
    -Elizabeth S. Chilton
    Dean, Harpur College of Arts and Sciences
  2. Take advantage of your time. Time is an important resource, so plan well and ensure that you use your available time effectively and efficiently. Make a clear schedule of when you will dedicate time to studying, but don’t forget to include breaks to give yourself time to breathe and refocus your concentration.
    - Krishnaswami Srihari
    Dean, Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science
  3. Find a way to study that is healthy and best for you and your needs. What's important to know is that different methods work for different people. Honor your own style, brain and body rhythms. Learning and being true to the study methods and times that work best for you is what will serve you well and ultimately lead to the results you want.
    - Laura R. Bronstein
    Dean, College of Community and Public Affairs
  4. It’s very important to start studying early instead of waiting until the night before a final. By giving yourself plenty of opportunities to go over the material, you’ll reinforce your confidence in it with repetition. It’s also important to pace yourself and make sure you are taking breaks. Let the material you’re reviewing settle in before moving on to the next topic. And lastly, be sure you are getting plenty of sleep!”
    -Upinder S. Dhillon
    Dean, School of Management
  5. Remember to always be kind to yourself! Be sure to include regular breaks during your study sessions. Breaks are essential because they give your brain the chance to rest and recover, helping to boost your productivity. Take a nap, listen to some music, watch an episode of TV or get some exercise. Make sure you make time for yourself.
    -Mario R. Ortiz
    Dean, Decker School of Nursing
  6. Study with peers. Form a study group and teach each other what you’ve learned. While studying, don’t forget to nourish yourself properly. Healthy eating feeds the brain, so try to pick nutritious snacks to fuel your mind and your body.
    -Gloria E. Meredith
    Founding Dean, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
From all of us here at Binghamton University, we wish you the best of luck on finals and a wonderful summer break! To all graduating seniors, we wish you luck on all your future endeavors. For everyone else, we cannot wait to see you back here in the fall!

Sincerely,

Harvey Stenger
President


April 30, 2019

Not all stress is bad stress!

Dear Bearcats,

With less than three weeks to go in the semester, now is the time when students really start to feel the pressure and let their stress get the best of them. I'm here to remind you that stress is a normal part of life, especially for students. So don't worry, you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed.

Over the last few weeks (like all dads out there!) I have been offering tips with some assistance from our knowledgeable faculty. These have included how to eat right, sleep right and keep safe during the end of the school year. To round out these tips, Jennifer Wegmann of the Health and Wellness Studies Department offers five more tips to help you successfully manage stress during one of the hardest times of the semester.

  1. Change your expectations about stress. Don't approach this crunch-period expecting to be stress-free, because that will just lead you to stress over being stressed.
  2. Attach meaning to your stress. Attaching meaning can positively change the way you interact with your stressors. Remind yourself that all your work is leading you to your goals and aspirations.
  3. Use your support system. Reach out to those around you (e.g. parents, friends, professors) and share what you are going through. Research shows that connecting socially is one of the most effective ways to manage and cope with stress.
  4. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. When you get stressed, it is easy to forget about the positives and only see the negatives. If you can tap into what is right in your life and express genuine gratitude, you will notice positive changes in how you are experiencing the stressors in your life, which will then make it easier to manage your stress.
  5. Change your mindset about stress. While stress can be harmful, it can also make you more productive, focused and even healthy. The way you frame stress can be very powerful. If you adopt a more positive mindset about stress, it may lead to more positive outcomes.

To quote Jennifer, "You can be happier, healthier and more, not in spite of your stress, but through your stress."

Don't forget to check out all of our Stress-free Bing events going on every day, all over campus.

And not to sound too much like a dad, but while you are in the midst of getting all your work done, don't forget to have a little fun and make the most of your time left here.

Good luck!

Sincerely,

Harvey Stenger
President


April 23, 2019

A reminder to get enough sleep

Dear Students,

We're approaching that time of year when you might feel pressure to stay up all night to cram in more studying or to put those finishing touches on an assignment.

Well, this week, I, along with Meredith Coles, psychology professor and director of the Binghamton Anxiety Clinic, want to share with you why it is so important to get a full and good night's sleep, especially during this busy season!

The tips below will help you build beneficial sleep patterns to maintain your health, improve your mood and help you perform your best!

  1. Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. Inadequate sleep has been linked to poor academic performance. Sleeping one hour less has been shown to be associated with performing two grade levels lower (e.g., someone in grade 9 performing as if they were in grade 7).
  2. Aim to go to bed "early." Staying up late may reduce your ability to control your thoughts and behaviors. Research suggests that going to sleep at a late hour (such as 3 a.m.) may have negative consequences on your body and mind.
  3. Turn off your phone and computer at least 30 minutes before bed! The light from these devices can trick your body into thinking it is still daytime and cause it to stop preparing for sleep.
  4. Try to stick to a regular schedule. For most college students, going to sleep between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. and waking between 7 and 9 a.m. works well.
  5. Be sure to sleep! Studies have shown that sleep is important for retaining information and that getting more sleep is associated with a higher GPA.

Don't wait to start a good habit. Try out some of these tips tonight; your body will thank you tomorrow.

Here's to a strong and successful rest of the semester!

Sincerely,

Harvey Stenger
President


April 15, 2019

A reminder to focus on healthy eating and exercise

Dear Students,

With just a few weeks left to go in the semester, it is crucial that you remember to make time for your own well-being, in addition to your school work and other responsibilities.

This week I would like to focus on the importance of good food and regular exercise to help manage stress levels and improve your mood.

Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at the Decker School of Nursing, offers five tips below to help you build healthy and successful patterns to carry you through the rest of the semester.

  1. Your food affects your mood! So, make sure you choose each meal wisely.
  2. Foods like coffee and carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta) activate our stress response and make us more likely to experience mental distress, so limit your intake of these foods.
  3. Meat, fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins that will help boost your mental state and make you feel good, so stock up on these!
  4. Eating breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and gives you energy to get through the day. Your brain relies on a routine of eating at the same time every day, so make sure to start each morning with a balanced meal!
  5. Exercising at least three times a week leads to the buildup of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, both of which help reduce stress and promote a good mood! So take a walk, hit the gym, get moving!

According to Lina, "If you have good exercise and diet practices, you feel better. And when you feel good, you're more likely to exercise and eat right."

This week we officially launched our campus-wide Stress-free Bing initiative aimed at providing interesting, fun and stress-reducing activities for students as they prepare for finals. 

I hope to see you at some of the activities!

Sincerely,

Harvey Stenger
President


May 25, 2019

Top five tips on finishing the semester strong

Dear Students,

As you return from Spring Break, it's hard to imagine there are only eight weeks left in the semester. Soon enough there will be finals and paper deadlines looming. The end of the spring semester can be a lot more stressful than it needs to be. So with that being said, here are my top five tips to help you make this final run as stress free as possible:

  1. Get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
  2. Eat healthily and exercise.
  3. Give yourself a break once in a while.
  4. Unplug and reconnect! While often necessary, the internet can also be the worst distraction.
  5. Ask for help when needed. The University has tons of resources for those who need extra help or just someone to talk to. binghamton.edu/case-management/support/resources.html

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be supplying you with more tips on how to make this semester a little less stressful. Sorry for worrying about you, but as a dad and a grandfather, I will never stop worrying!

Have a great finish to the year!

Sincerely,

Harvey Stenger
President